Supporters of Indonesian preacher denied entry into S’pore spam President Halimah & PM Lee’s social media pages

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Kayla Wong | May 19, 2022, 10:52 AM

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The social media accounts of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President Halimah Yacob had been spammed by supporters of the Indonesian preacher who was denied entry into Singapore, a Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) spokesperson confirmed.

Multiple government and politicians' social media pages spammed

The social media accounts of Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, and multiple political office-holders, were affected too.

The messages were accompanied by the #SaveUAS and #SaveUstadzAbdulSomad hashtags.

In addition, the and Ministry of Law's Twitter accounts, as well as the Instagram accounts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Singapore Tourism Board and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, were spammed.

The preacher, Abdul Somad Batubara, was denied entry into Singapore on May 16 due to his history of extremist teachings that are unacceptable here, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on May 17.

The spokesperson also noted that there were calls for cyberattacks against the Singapore government's social media accounts on public Indonesian chat groups.

Organisations advised to strengthen cybersecurity posture

In addition, two events management companies have had their websites defaced. MCI said the websites have since been recovered and SingCERT will reach out to the companies to extend their assistance.

The ministry advises organisations to take active steps to strengthen their cybersecurity posture, heighten vigilance, and bolster their online defences to protect against possible cyber-attacks, such as web defacement and distributed denial of service (DDoS).

Singapore organisations who are affected by a cyber-attack or have evidence of any suspicious compromise of their networks should report to SingCERT, the spokesperson added. A report can be made via their Incident Reporting Form.

Preacher known to preach extremist teachings

Somad arrived at Singapore’s Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal on May 16 from Batam with six travel companions. He was interviewed, following which the group was denied entry into Singapore and placed on a ferry back to Batam on the same day.

The preacher was known to preach extremist and segregationist teachings, which are unacceptable in Singapore’s multi-racial and multi-religious society, MHA said.

For instance, he has preached that suicide bombings are legitimate in the context of the Israel-Palestine conflict, and are considered “martyrdom” operations.

He has also made comments denigrating members of other faith communities, such as Christians, by describing the Christian crucifix as the dwelling place of an “infidel jinn (spirit/demon)”.

In addition, Somad has publicly referred to non-Muslims as “kafirs” (infidels).

MHA said that a visitor's entry into Singapore is "neither automatic nor a right", and that the government takes a serious view of "any persons who advocate violence and/or espouse extremist and segregationist teachings".

This explains why even though Somad had attempted to enter Singapore ostensibly for a social visit, he and his travel companions were denied entry.

Top photo via @ustadzadbdulsomad/Instagram & Lee Hsien Loong/Instagram